Advice + Tax + Accounts for smart business owners.
April 21st 2022

Managing your travel money

From what currency to pay in when using your card, to managing leftover foreign cash....

Before you leave the UK

Remember to sort out your spending money in the weeks leading up to your trip. Depending on your situation and where you’re travelling, you may prefer to take cards or travel money. Or you may want to take a mixture of both.

Make a note of the number to call your bank / credit card company from outside the UK, so you can get in contact if something happens while you are away.

During your trip

  • Choose to pay in local currency.

When shopping or eating out in a restaurant, you may be asked if you want to pay in pound sterling instead of the local currency. This is called dynamic currency conversion (DCC). You’ll almost always be charged a higher exchange rate for choosing to pay in sterling and the merchant may add on extra conversion fees.

If you choose to pay in the local currency, the exchange rate will be set by Visa or Mastercard. In most cases it will be lower.

  • Don’t keep all your money in one place.

Consider storing your cards and cash separately to reduce the risk of them all being lost, or stolen, at the same time. Use a safe to store anything valuable (including money) that you don’t need to have with you.

  • Budget your spending

Regardless of whether you’re using cards or travel money, it can be a good idea to give yourself a daily budget for spending while you’re away. By setting a reasonable target, you can make sure that when you come home, you’re not stressed about money and in need of a holiday all over again.

After you get home

If you’ve got any cash left over, you have a couple of options when you return home. If another trip isn’t on the cards, you can exchange your excess foreign currency back into sterling with an organisation that sells foreign currency. These transactions are often referred to as ‘buy backs’.

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